Monday, January 19, 2009

The Interview with Dr. Christine Meloni (GWU)

The interview with Dr. Christine Meloni (The George Washington University, USA) of March, 2007. She visited Yakutsk and the Yakut TESOL First International Conference in June, 2004. Larissa Olesova interviewed Christine about her impressions of Yakutia and teaching EFL in Yakutia. Read the answers. You may leave your comments.

LO: What were your first impressions of Yakutia and Yakutsk in 2004?

CM: My first impression was that the people were very friendly and very kind. They made me feel at home immediately.I was very impressed with the generosity of the people. When I ate in someone's home, the meal was always a banquet!Many things surprised me. I was surprised by the buildings on stilts and by the pipes outside of the buildings rather than in the walls. I was very interested in hearing about the impact of the cold weather on these buildings.I was rather shocked that one's used toilet paper was put in waste cans rather than in the toilets.I was surprised that many of the cars had the steering wheels on the right even though people drive on the right.I was surprised that I did not see many shops and that most of the shops were inside buildings where you couldn't see them from the outside.I was surprised by how much the native music resembled the music of the American Indians.

LO: How were your first impressions changed to compare with your impressions when you spent some time there?

CM: My impressions did not change. The people were wonderful at the beginning and were wonderful throughout.

LO: What do you think about teaching EFL in Yakutia? According to your impressions of talking to the conference participants?

CM: I was very impressed with the teachers that I talked to in Yakutsk. I was amazed, first of all, by how well they spoke English, even those who had never been to an English-speaking country. I was also impressed with their enthusiasm and dedication to the field of ESL.

LO: Have you found any problems in the situation with teaching English in Yakutia?

CM: The teachers at the conference seemed very interested in improving their teaching and seemed very aware of the latest trends in the field. I didn't notice any big problems.

LO: What could you suggest for teachers of English in Yakutia?

I would suggest that they try to get involved with Internet technology so that they can have close contact with ESL teachers around the world and so that their students can interact with other students using the English language in authentic ways. Blogs and wikis are two technologies that could benefit students' writing and reading skills, for example. Larissa has many wonderful ideas for implementing ideas for using the Internet.

1 comment:

samraat said...